Mater Education has teamed up with hospitals and schools across Brisbane to tackle the shortage of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students taking up careers in health.
Launched early December by the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Steven Miles, the Deadly Start education2employment program aims to help Close the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy within a generation.
“We need generational change to achieve this and it makes sense that having more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working on our wards and in health leadership will help us get there,” Mr Miles said.
“We know that access to education, employment and healthcare can help determine quality of life and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and this program will help to address that.”
In partnership with Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Mater Education will deliver the Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance and the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance via a traineeship model to students undertaking the Deadly Start program.
Crestmead State High School Year 11 student Sharde Smith is thrilled to be one of the first Deadly Start participants to enter healthcare.
With more experience in a hospital than most people her age following a childhood diagnosis of Leukaemia, the now-16-year-old was able to bond with an Indigenous nurse who taught her stories and helped her understand the situation through their shared culture.
“I've been through what they're going through, I know how it feels so I want others to know there is someone there to help them through their hard times,” Sharde said.
“This program is going to have a huge impact because I'm going to be doing what I love, giving back, changing people's lives, saving them, so I think it's going to be something that I look forward to everyday,” she said.
Almost 20 schools have signed up to the initiative with the first intake of 26 students getting a head start on their Nursing, Allied Health or Dental careers, while maintaining their senior school commitments.
Mater Education Director Vocational Education and Training Barry Hankinson said Mater Education was proud to be part of the initiative.
“The Deadly Start program is an exciting new initiative to boost the numbers of school-aged students choosing a career in health, and Mater Education’s Certificate III courses provide the perfect opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills needed to work in a dynamic health environment,” Mr Hankinson said.
“The course provides a practical, problem-solving approach and ensures students are ready to take on a variety of roles including assistant in nursing, patient care assistant, personal carer, assistant in allied health or they could choose to go on to do further study.”
“The program also speaks to Mater’s Mission to respond to unmet community need; to provide compassionate care to those who need it most, and Mater Education is privileged to be involved.”
The Deadly Start education2emplyment program is part of a newly-established Health Hub, which is a partnership between Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane North West Trade Training Centre, Mater Education, and state, independent and private schools.